"It's like you're not even driving. That sense of isolation from the noisy streets is sometimes all you need to make you forget the fact that you've been stuck in traffic for hours," says Nathalie Turpin, the Dubai-based Hilton brand marketing director, of her new Nissan Murano.
The Murano, which is in its eighth year of production and its second generation, combines the size and elevation of an SUV with the agility of a sports car. It is certainly a far cry from Turpin's previous car.
"I used to own a Peugeot 206cc. It was a manual drive and I loved it. But going all across the UAE became hard work, so I needed something bigger, and with cruise control," she says.
Although the Murano's rugged exterior suggests it possesses some rock-crawling skills, it is not really equipped for these kind of activities. But what it lacks on the rocks, it makes up for on the road, which is fortunate considering how much time Turpin spends travelling around the UAE for work and pleasure .
"I love driving it. I am always happy to be the designated driver on pretty much any long trip.
"I go diving on the East Coast, and have taken it to Oman for dive trips and I am very happy driving it there and back," says Turpin.
Turpin's love of driving goes back to when her father taught her how to drive at home: "I grew up in the UK and my father used to take me out in his old car and teach me how to drive. I learnt from that experience more than I could have learnt any place else."
Turpin's job has taken her around the globe, from the UK to Japan, Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait before the UAE. And she's found that living in different countries and continents has allowed her to expand on her knowledge of driving.
Her father also introduced her to karting, something she still enjoys occasionally. "There is something about driving a car at that speed. On the track, no one will stop you and tell you to slow down. It's such a rush."
She's very excited about the upcoming Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Turpin closely follows the world of Formula One and cites McLaren as her favourite team: "I can only talk as a spectator and not a sponsor, but it's been [an] interesting [season]. Some races have had some interesting 'events'."
Through her job Turpin has been involved with the organising of live screenings of Grands Prix at the Abu Dhabi Hilton.
"I like the energy behind the F1 and I enjoy the atmosphere at the races and the passion that goes behind a race weekend, even if it's just watching it on TV.
"I would like to think one of the McLaren drivers will take this year's Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix, but Lewis [Hamilton] has had some bad luck in a couple of races now."
Turpin is extremely satisfied with her Murano and plans to keep it for the time being, only changing it to get a newer model: "This time with the add-ons like sensors."
In a perfect world, where money is no object, she would go for a convertible: "Feeling the wind through your hair, and experiencing the speed first hand instead of being shielded by glass, are some of the perks of a being in a convertible.
"There is nothing I would love more than that right now."